Lymphoma of the ocular adnexa

S. A.F. Frimmel, C. Kniestedt, M. Töteberg-Harms, K. Chaloupka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Over the last decades, the incidence of ocular adnexal lymphomas has been increasing. Over the last decade advances in the imaging of ocular adnexal lymphomas have enabled precise biopsies of the tumors. Biopsies are necessary for immunophenotyping, correct molecular classification and the immediate start of the appropriate treatment. Patients and Methods: In a retrospective study, we collected data from 16 patients (19 eyes) treated for lymphoma of the ocular adnexa between 2006 and 2011 with various tumor sites. We evaluated ocular symptoms of the patients in correlation to the tumor localization on imaging and determined the access of biopsy. Follow-up period (13.7 ± 15.4 months) and therapy were analyzed. Results: The mean age of study patients was 67.4 ± 13.6 years. Seven patients presented with exophthalmos, 6 with upper lid swelling, 5 with double vision, 5 with reduced visual acuity and one patient with retinal detachment. None of the patients complained of pain. In 7 cases the location of the OAL was superior, in 6 retrobulbar, in 4 patients in the lacrimal gland (1 bilaterally affected), one case with lacrimal sac infiltration and another with isolated subconjunctival lymphoma. Patients with retrobulbar tumors complained of visual loss, whereas patients with anterior orbital tumors showed localized nodular swelling. In 11 cases (58%) the diagnosis was marginal zone B-cell lymphoma (MALT), in 5 (26%) follicular lymphoma. 11 patients (69%) received curative and one HIV-positive patient palliative radiation. Three patients were treated with systemic rituximab due to generalized lymphoma and one of them was complemented with CHOP therapy. One patient received chemotherapy alone (CHOP). During the follow-up the HIV-positive patient died. Conclusions: All our lymphoma patients showed full tumor regression, without side effects from radiotherapy. In this study we emphasize the need to perform a diagnostic biopsy. The risk of biopsy by a trained surgeon is small. Early and accurate diagnosis is crucial for proper treatment. In unclear situations repeated biopsies might be necessary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)394-404
Number of pages11
JournalKlinische Monatsblatter fur Augenheilkunde
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • MALT lymphoma
  • biopsy
  • lymphoma
  • ocular adnexal lymphomas
  • orbit
  • radiation
  • radiotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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